Hybrid Events – the new hype

Well-made hybrid events can combine the best of 2 worlds in an ingenious way: onsite and online events. The current Covid-19 pandemic is driving this development forward.

Experiences gained at the closing event “RTI Strategy Mobility“

Thus I had the pleasure as well as the challenge of co-designing and moderating such a hybrid event: the closing event “RTI (Research, Technology and Innovation) Strategy Mobility“ on 14 September 2020. Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler and approx. a further 40 real VIPs were involved onsite at the Vienna TechGate, as well as many virtual participants (either via Zoom – approx. 500  – or via stream on YouTube and Facebook). Before I come to the tips for hybrid events, one thing first …

The most important: Technology and Dramaturgy

Choose a highly experienced and professional tech company that will already be engaged in the planning phase for the event, and will handle the technology onsite.

The dramaturgy design, in part, already begins months in advance. A few essential – and some not easy – questions absolutely must be answered for this (which, by the way, are the same as for any type of (online) workshop or training course):

 What goals are we pursuing?

Based on this, the question: What should be different after the event? What was the benefit? What was made possible?

  •     What goals are we not pursuing (enhances the goals)?
  •     Who do we want to target with this event?
  •     Who should be invited?
  •     What could interest the participants?

Then – and only then – when you’ve got the answers to these questions – you can start on the dramaturgy and design a detailed directing plan! We’ve prepared a template for you to download.

7  Tips for Hybrid Events.

  • In preparing, you have to consider both the participants in front of their monitors and those physically present; take this adequately into account for the implementation. Keep in mind that you’ve got 2 audiences!
  • If you wish to carry out panel discussions, do a so-called “panel mapping” in the 1st step. i.e. you first think about what topics should be addressed, and choose your respective speakers accordingly. A mistake often made is the other way around, which usually results in random discussions.
  • Next, come up with exciting questions that could interest the audience as well as ways to relax so that your event isn’t stiff & formal but personal as well (e.g. introduce speakers by means of an object they themselves have brought along.)
  • And if this is your first hybrid event: practice, practice, practice!
  • Dress rehearsals: not only YOU and the tech on location (ideally the day before) but with any speakers who will be joining virtually. This way you can not only check if the tech is working, you can establish a personal bond with the speakers, who you often do not know.
  • And if you don’t want your face to shine like a polished apple, well, you’ll need to wear a mask (no, no, not a protective face mask!) I mean makeup and powder. You should also recommend this to your guests and even provide them with this service.
  • Your mindset (= inner attitude): as in elite sport, let a film run through your mind that reflects the best possible scenario and programme your mindset to success and fun! You as the moderator thereby sets the important cornerstone for a great hybrid event.

Finally, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude for the superb collaboration with the Climate Ministry, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, Kurt Raunjak and his staff at wienweit, as well as my event coach Betty Kerschbauer-Schramek .

Have you also already gained experience with hybrid events, or do you have any more tips for hybrid events?

Then please share these with us using the comments field below.

You’ll find more resources for planning your event here.

Good luck to you, best wishes from Birgit!